Sorrow and Grace
By Connie Lane Lundeen of Burnsville, MN, USA
But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. —Luke 18:16 NRSV
A young professional couple had lost their only child in a tragic, day-care accident. He was 11 months old. I hadn’t met this couple until the night before the memorial when they called me to officiate. It was early in my ministry, and with deep concern, I prayed that God’s Spirit would guide me in bringing comfort to them.
As I drove to their home, my heart filled with sorrow and panic. How could I bring comfort to this family who had lost their only child? Did I have the necessary gifts? How could I prepare myself to offer ministry for a service that was only a few hours away? I did know that God deeply cared about this young couple and felt the pain of their loss. God wanted to comfort them and assure them of unconditional love for them and their child.
Their home filled with friends supporting David and Tara. As we visited, it became clear they had no current church affiliation, yet they had a deep faith and trust in God. Their hearts ached at the sudden loss of their beautiful son. Surprisingly, they expressed gratitude that God had given them Aaron, even if just for a short time. They cherished the joy he had brought into their lives.
They voiced concern that they had never baptized Aaron. I assured them that their child was precious to God. I told them that Jesus had counseled us that children were like the kingdom of God, and we needed to be more like children. To me, that meant we should be tender, forgiving, and compassionate.
They seemed relieved and at peace, trusting that Aaron was now in God’s loving arms. Amid Tara’s and David’s sorrow, it was obvious that a compassionate God held and comforted them. This grieving family, so full of grace and love, brought ministry to me. Amid deep sorrow, God had gracefully blessed all of us.
Prayer for Peace
Compassionate God, help us accept your comfort to us and pass it on to those who suffer loss. We know you stand with us as we share your compassion and peace.
Spiritual Practice: Honoring God’s Call in My Life
Reflect on God’s call in your life. Begin by prayerfully asking to recall particular moments when you have experienced God’s presence and invitation to share your gifts. When has God seemed most real in your life? When have you felt disconnected or resistant to God’s call? Reflect on what you did or might do to become reconnected to God. Write in your journal or reflect on how you can develop and share your gifts with others.
Today, God, I will not doubt that I can be a messenger of peace.